'Isms' and Ulterior Motives in Ellen Feldman’s Scottsboro

33 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2019 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019

See all articles by Eloise Chin

Eloise Chin

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: September 6, 2019

Abstract

Scottsboro is one of the most significant criminal cases of the twentieth century. Set in the Deep South of the 1930s, the false allegation of rape from two white women against nine black men brought America’s prejudices into the global spotlight. A number of historical accounts have been written over the years, but Ellen Feldman’s novel, Scottsboro, provides readers with a closer look at the personal lives, thoughts and feelings of those involved in the case. Through this the modern audience is able to delve deeply into three key themes: race, class, and ulterior motives. Readers from all backgrounds will find the novel to be an important reminder of the dangers of prejudice - especially prevalent at a time when instances of racial animosity are seen in the news on a daily basis. For lawyers and law students, Scottsboro provides insight into the nature of the legal profession, and the lengths a lawyer may go to in order to protect his or her career.

Keywords: law and literature, legal history, Scottsboro trials

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Chin, Eloise, 'Isms' and Ulterior Motives in Ellen Feldman’s Scottsboro (September 6, 2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 12/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3449036 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3449036

Eloise Chin (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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